Stefano Pioli says Milan have ‘everything to gain’ against Bodo/Glimt on Thursday and was ‘amazed’ by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s physical condition.
Milan are back in action on Thursday night, when the Norwegian League leaders arrive at San Siro for the third qualifying round of the Europa League.
Pioli believes his Rossoneri have ‘grown’ since he took over in October 2019 and wants to see them carry out their game plan.
“Both the collective and the individuals have grown, and it’s a consequence of the work we are doing and the quality of the players I have available,” Pioli said at a press conference.
“I don’t like the approach that we have everything to lose, instead we have everything to gain. We must put into action what we have prepared in training, our philosophy.
“The match must be faced with determination; they have won 18 matches out of 20 official games and tied two of them.”
Pioli expects a motivated Bodo/Glimt and vowed to approach the match against the Norwegians as they would to ‘prepare for a Final’.
“We are doing well, and today’s and tomorrow’s training will clear my mind, we know the importance of the match and we prepare for it as if it was a Final. For our opponents, it’s the match of a lifetime.
“They have very quick wingers and are a team who are good at reopening and commanding the games. They are doing well.”
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored both goals in the 2-0 win against Bologna on Monday and Pioli has revealed the Swede has impressed him.
“I was amazed by his good condition. He had some minor ailments and had not played two friendlies. I thought he might experience some difficulties, but he was ready both mentally and physically.”
Sandro Tonali and Rade Krunic could be involved, as Pioli claims his four midfielders can all play together.
“The four midfielders I have can play together and rotate easily,” he added. “In our way of playing, I need intelligent players, who know how to build and defend equally well.
“Krunic is a joker for me because I can use him in a more advanced position.”
Pioli said he expects the managers at Milanello to reinforce the defence ‘if there’s the possibility’ to do it.
“I have great confidence in the skills of the technical area and in the club’s willingness to improve the team if there’s the possibility.
“In defence, we have three players who are out. [Andrea] Conti, [Alessio] Romagnoli and [Mateo] Musacchio.
“Musacchio and Romagnoli are better, but they can’t force their return. I think it’s more plausible to see them on the pitch after the break.”
But the teams are allowed five substitutions in 2020-21 and Pioli wants to use it to his advantage.
“It didn’t make sense to bring 23 players and only have three changes. For us, there’s the possibility of using more players, a situation we can take advantage of.”
The Diavolo coach admitted he has not decided if Brahim Diaz will start the match against Bodo/Glimt.
“I haven’t decided if he will play yet, but he’s ready. As are others.”